1. József Nádor Tér – departure of HOHO from Palatine Joseph Square
The square named after Palatine Joseph (Jozsef Nador Ter) is in downtown Budapest, right behind the famous Café Gerbeaud on Vorosmarty Square, where the big shopping street, Vaci Utca runs into. The Chain Bridge and the St Stephen’s Basilica, and the Michelin star Onyx Restaurant are also within 5 min on foot.
2. Erzsébet Tér – 1st bus stop on Elisabeth Square
Elisabeth Square is literally the heart of the city, along with Deak square (basically the two square are next to each other). Erzsebet Ter is often the location of Budapest festivals, and the Akvarium Club under the square is one of the most popular open air bars in Budapest. Hotel Kempinski is by the square.
3. Andrássy Út – 2nd bus stop on Andrassy Avenue
The scenic and elegant Andrassy Ave (Andrassy ut) is part of the UNESCO World Heritage sites (one of the two UNESCO sites in Budapest). This road is also ideal for a nice walk on a breezy day, where you can see some of the high brand shops, pleasant terraced cafés and restaurants, and locals enjoying their walk. Also worth a visit is the Opera.
4. Opera – 3rd bus stop at the Budapest Opera House on Andrassy Avenue
The Opera is one of the most popular classical attractions of Budapest with its beautiful building and fantastic opera and ballet performances. The National Opera House built in the 19th century is on Andrassy Ave so if you want to explore the building and its neighborhood a bit more, hop off the sightseeing bus, and enjoy a short detour. The opera can be visited as part of guided tours. More about the opera tours in Budapest here.
5. Liszt Ferenc Tér – 4th bus stop of the red bus is on Franz Liszt Square
The term ‘Liszt Ferenc Tér’ has become known as the restaurant zone in Budapest. Indeed, there are dozens of restaurants next to each other on this nice historical square, where you can also take a look at the Franz Liszt Music Academy of Budapest, featuring a fantastic Art Nouveau interior. In summer, Liszt Ferenc Square turns into a huge terrace with lots of people (locals and tourists alike) chatting away, enjoying their lunch deals or the night breeze with nice wines, beers and cocktails.
6. Heroes’ Square (Hosok tere in Hungarian) – 5th bus stop at the end of Andrassy Avenue
Heroes’ Square is known for its beautiful historical monument and statues (Gabriel archangel, the Hungarian tribal leaders and statues of Hungarian kings and statesmen), but it is also the home of two art museums, one for the traditional classical fine arts, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the other for the contemporary modern arts, the Kunsthalle or Art Hall (Mucsarnok). Heroes’ Square is right next to the City Park, and the artificial boat lake, if you feel like for a picnic, hop off and enjoy the peace of the square and the park. Let’s not forget that this is the stop to get off to Szechenyi Baths too, the fantastic thermal spa baths complex.
7. Keleti Train Station (Eastern Train Station) – 6th bus stop on the red HOHO line
The 19th century building of the Keleti Train Station (in Hungarian Keleti Pályaudvar) is pretty impressive considering it is only a railway station. This is the station where most trains from Budapest to Vienna leave from. If you are arriving at Keleti, and you are traveling light, you can easily join the hop on hop off bus tours here in Budapest.
8. Astoria Square – 7th bus stop on the red HOHO line
The square is named after Hotel Astoria, and is one of the major junctions in Budapest where major 4 lane roads meet. If you wish to explore the neighborhood, you can see the National Museum (within 5 min walk on Muzeum korut street) or you can head to the Jewish Quarter of Budapest with its multiple synagogues, kosher and non-kosher restaurants and confectioneries, and memorials of the Holocaust. The Budapest Grand Synagogue in Dohany Street (former Budapest Ghetto during WW2) is the 2nd largest synagogue in the world. Beautiful, majestic, not to be missed if you love architecture and history.
9. Funicular / Budapest Castle Cable Car – 8th bus stop on the red HOHO line
If you love nostalgic rides, the 19th century Funicular offers a comfortable short ride up to the Buda Castle on the Castle Hill. If you feel more sporty, you can just take a ten minute short hike up to the hill. Bus number 16 is the regular bus, and its bus stop is on the right side of the Tunnel, opposite the Funicular. This bust stop on the red bus route is a good stop if you want to hop off for a walk along the river to admire the sights along the river Danube on the Pest side. There are many bars, restaurants to have lunch or dinner at too. Note: the ride on the Funicular is not included in your Budapest public transport travel card or travel pass.
10. Buda Castle District (Budai Vár) – 9th bus stop on the red HOHO line
Although the Buda Castle has bee pretty badly damaged (especially its interior) during WW2, it is still a must see in Budapest with all its 18th-19th century historical streets, many museums, fantastic views and beautiful attractions. To name but a few: Fisherman’s Bastion, Buda Castle, Matthias Church, Hospital in the Rock, Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest History Museum, etc.
11. Citadella (The Citadel fortress) on top of Gellert Hill, Buda side of Budapest, – 10th bus stop on the red HOHO bus route
The red line hop on hop off will also take you atop the Gellert Hill where you can get off to get amazing views of the city of Budapest. The Citadel is a 19th century fortress with a little WW2 museum inside, and you can see the simple, Communist style Statue of Liberty. This is also a great place to get a mental map of Budapest (the Buda hills, the river, and the busy Pest side).
12. Marcius 15. Tér (March 15 Square) at the foot of the white Elisabeth Bridge – 11th stop on the HOHO red line
Although the square named March 15 (after the 1848-49 freedom fight against the Hapsburgs) (which we lost!) used to be the old city center of 19th century Budapest, today, this square is just a quirky square at the bridge, with not much weight. However, this bus stop along the red line is a good hop off opportunity for those who wish to visit the shopping street (Váci utca) and walk up to the beautiful Central Market Hall of Budapest. Not particularly worth visiting but the Marcius 15. square is close to famous vaci Utca as well as many hotels which are located at the Danube. It might be a get on or off point but not really worth a full stop.
13. Parliament (the Hungarian Parliament)
This is probably the most photographed building in Budapest: a beautiful, and huge parliamentary palace in fact. You can explore the Parliament and Szabadsag Square with the Soviet memorial, visit the Shoes on the Danube Holocaust memorial, or venture into the Hungarian House of Art Nouveau (a museum with no museum principles, rather like a private collector’s apartment with a cafe).
14. Back to József Nádor Tér where the bus tour of the red Hopon Hopoff started.